selling herbs and veg plants

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selling herbs and veg plants

Postby JoseyJo » Mon Dec 17, 2012 4:25 pm

I'm wondering about growing and selling herbs / herb related products and/or veg plants - perhaps trying to specialise in more unusual herbs and veg. Has anyone got any experience of this - does there seem to a market for it? I might have access to part of a polytunnel (at no cost) and maybe a small area of land - but it is quite a few miles from my house so would make it harder to keep an eye on. I also have a 8x12 greenhouse and some space in garden. Not sure how much space/time I'd need to grow a viable number of plants, also bearing in mind at the moment I don't have lots of spare time either!
ANy hints/tips/experiences would be gratefully received.
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Re: selling herbs and veg plants

Postby diggernotdreamer » Mon Dec 17, 2012 7:44 pm

I have grown and sold plants over the years. Growing things is labour intensive, sowing, pricking out, potting on. I have propagators too, plus two large heated benches. You need lots of shelving to store plants on, plus space to store bought in potting compost and pots. To be efficient and productive, you need to have an area where you can sow seeds and pot them on near where your staging or shelving is, it is very exhausting walking round with trays of plants, lugging bags of compost etc. Depending on what you are growing, you may need to fleece plants in a cold snap or in hot weather make sure there is adequate water and ventilation. What is your market? If you have a stall, you need to load a car, set up, take it all down, put it back in the car, put it all back and if it is bad weather you may make no money. Is there a shop/s that may take your stuff (sale and return? sometimes a bit iffy) so you can offload quantity. Ebay is quite a good place to sell plants, you have to make sure you have good packaging available as plants can suffer in the post. If you have a greenhouse, you could concentrate your efforts there to start with and see how you get on. Plug plants are always popular, people often forget to sow things at the right times, people always want some spring cabbages, nice lettuce plants in the spring. Cottage garden plants are very popular, if you know other gardeners you could could get stuff they are splitting and of course they don't need protection. One year, I bought lots of plug plants early on in the year, brought them on and then made them up into hanging baskets and tubs, but I did have buyers for them, all the traders at a local craft village wanted them for outside their shops. You could grow quite a bit in an 8x12 greenhouse, if you have sufficient staging and shelving to put everything on.
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Re: selling herbs and veg plants

Postby JoseyJo » Mon Dec 17, 2012 9:13 pm

Lots of helpful info there - thanks!
I think I need to decide on somewhere I could do one or two stalls in spring time, and concentrate on growing enough for that to start with - and see how it goes. Lettuces and cabbages are a good idea. I'd also thought of tomatoes, courgettes etc. as well as herbs. I suppose herbs will take longer to get to a decent size, unless I buy plugs but of course that's more of an investment....
I don't know if the nearby farmer's market would allow a stall for only one or two weeks, but I could find out. Unfortunately I don't live on a busy road - or I could try garden gate sales first. There is a plant sale at my local village hall once a year, in summer I think.
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Re: selling herbs and veg plants

Postby boboff » Tue Dec 18, 2012 8:23 am

There is an Amercian Mike McGoaty? who concentrates on taking Perenial cuttings and then opening up his "yard" two or three times a year to sell the Perennials. To me this sounds like a great idea, as you don't have to hump it all around. A few flyers round the village in the month before you need to do it, and have an open "weekend" People will come as you can sell them for half what they are in the shops. Once you get a reputation it will build up. Suplement with trips to the farmers market in the early years.

One tip, buy in bulk square pots and trays to hold them. It makes filling with soil quicker and less wastefull.
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Re: selling herbs and veg plants

Postby JoseyJo » Tue Dec 18, 2012 11:11 am

Great idea, thanks!
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Re: selling herbs and veg plants

Postby oldjerry » Tue Dec 18, 2012 3:52 pm

There's not a whole load to be made from veg plants,apart from Toms and Hot chillies,both of which are well worth doing,but don't expect average person to be too imaginative...so Gardeners Delight,Moneymaker(I know they're crap,but they're what people want),and some sort of tumbler.You'll need a bit of bottom heat to get these going in about 3 or 4 weeks,so why not do a bit of bedding while you're at it,that's what Joe Public REALLY pay money for......selling wise,we have car boots round here,great places to flog plants,if you don't have a decent roadside spot,do a deal with some old dear that does,and leave them with an honesty box outside their place(I know someone who does this in Cornwall in about 4 or 5 different sites,gives the householder about 10% and makes a good living for 2 or 3 months a year'but she's vv good).
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Re: selling herbs and veg plants

Postby JoseyJo » Wed Dec 19, 2012 1:24 pm

That's a useful tip about the tomato varieties, as I'd have been tempted to go for some of the lovely ones I've tried out in the last few years - like Cherokee Purples, mmmmm - I'll have to save them for me!
do a deal with some old dear that does made me smile - my Mum's house is in a slightly better location than mine for passing trade so I could try her drive - but I don't think she'd be impressed if I put her in the category of old dear! :iconbiggrin:
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Re: selling herbs and veg plants

Postby diggernotdreamer » Wed Dec 19, 2012 10:35 pm

It has been my experience that people are very interested in heritage and heirloom varieties of vegetables. When I sell my tomato plants, I have a picture of the tomato and a description, what they can be used for and any other information you have on them. People like to grow something a little bit different and unusual. I put posters up for my plant sales and advertise them as heirloom, heritage, rarity, that type of thing and they always attracted a lot of attention, the heritage stuff always used to be sold out first. Old Cottage garden varieties and medicinal plants are always good sellers, as are unusual mints, basils, painted sage, clary sage, bergamot etc. If you are growing heritage plants for yourself, do some extras and give them a go as well as some 'boring' ones. Have a look a Real Seeds selection of lettuce seeds, they are really interesting.
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Re: selling herbs and veg plants

Postby JoseyJo » Wed Dec 19, 2012 11:13 pm

I'd definitely be keen to grow some more unusual varieties, especially as I know how good some of them taste. Is there a difference between heritage and heirloom varieties of veg?

My thought if I grew herbs was that I could have a description of some of the uses alongside. I visited a market a couple of years ago and there was a lovely herb stall which sold a huge mixture - some regular herbs and some more unusual like marshmallow. It certainly tempted me to try one or two new ones (though I think I've killed them off).

I've tried some of realseeds seeds before, but not so much the lettuces. I got some lovely white cucumbers there a couple of years ago but last year they didn't seem to have them. And stupidly despite their point being that you can collect and save your own seed for the next season, I hadn't done!

I'm getting quite inspired.....
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Re: selling herbs and veg plants

Postby oldjerry » Wed Dec 19, 2012 11:23 pm

I apologise, although any advice I give may be gleaned from 40+years of making a living off the land(as there was no other income to feed the kids) I'm probably completely out of touch with what will sell today.
All I would suggest ,if I may,is that however you might wish to trade with 'right on' people that share your vision for the future,sadly, the Plebs are the ones with the cash.
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Re: selling herbs and veg plants

Postby JoseyJo » Wed Dec 19, 2012 11:36 pm

Any advice gratefully received :icon_smile: and certainly worth taking seriously! I could easily get carried away thinking of all the lovely things I like to grow without being realistic and checking what would actually sell. And yes, if I want to make some money I need to be practical. I guess the thing to do is to try it out and see what sells in this area.
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Re: selling herbs and veg plants

Postby diggernotdreamer » Wed Dec 19, 2012 11:48 pm

Heirloom varieties are those ones usually passed down through families and they can be peculiar to local areas as well, the Heritage Seed Library have quite a few. Heritage is generally older types that were once available from seed companies but have fallen off the national seed list due to the costs of keeping them registered, some companies are now listing heritage seeds again, which shows they are gaining in popularity as people realise the benefits of growing some of the varieties grown in years gone by. Look at Mortens incredible mix on the Real Seeds, it is a lovely mixture of different shapes, sizes and leaf patterns.
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Re: selling herbs and veg plants

Postby JoseyJo » Wed Dec 19, 2012 11:53 pm

Ok thanks. I must look at their website again, I haven't done for ages.
Does anyone knows any good books / websites which are a good intro to growing plants to sell? I know a lot seem to come up with google but I never know which are worth reading.
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Re: selling herbs and veg plants

Postby boboff » Thu Dec 20, 2012 8:49 am

http://www.mikesbackyardnursery.com/

This is the one I mentioned before.

I know Jerry (who if I am honest is right about the chavs) has mentioned him on here as well.

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Re: selling herbs and veg plants

Postby Green Aura » Thu Dec 20, 2012 10:19 am

I haven't actually read this, so it may not be of any use. The tag line says it's info about raising money to "grow a farm" through permaculture, without getting into debt. So, to paraphrase Royal Mail, I saw this thought it may be of some use to you in your potential new venture.

http://www.permaculture.co.uk/videos/debt-free-permaculture-farming-joel-salatin
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